The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (1984) Poster

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Get over it, junior Eberts!
sober_gaijin28 January 2004
I've read several comments by people under the age of 30 who trash on this film, call it crap, and characterize us fans as vapid, thorazine-addled retards. Whatever makes you happy, folks! If trashing on a film that was seminal in the annals of low-budget cinematic resourcefulness makes you feel special then I'm happy for you.

There is a reason we love this film. The script is clever, a veritable mosaic of silly twists and throwaway jokes so layered that it takes multiple viewings to keep up with it all (favorite line: "It's not my ******* planet, Monkey Boy!"). And the direction and approach is equally exciting: rather than annoy us with underfinanced special effects that pretend to be Lucasfilm quality, the director revels in his low budget, using conk shells as models for space ships and populating alien ship interiors with tubes, pipes, rods and duct tape. The aliens come off as resourceful-albeit-goofy packrats, bumbling about and managing to stay just a few steps ahead of Buckaroo until the very end.

For many of us over 30, this film was something special. We caught it at midnight movie houses and relished in the warm presence of a movie made by people who shared our dark, twisted senses of humor. In college, it was a regular rental; we held Bonzai parties, dressed as characters, turned it into our private video Rocky Horror. No, it's not Citizen Kane ... but what do you want from a movie called Buckaroo Bonzai?
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If you're looking for a predictable film, do not watch this
sleeper-1014 March 2000
TAOBBATED, as I will acronymize this film, is neither the stupid low-budget piece of excrement nor the sublimely original cult masterpiece you've been told it is, but it's a lot closer to the latter than to the former. Peter Weller plays Buckaroo, the titular neurosurgeon/inventor/modern-day samurai/Billy Joelesque rocker, and he plays him frightfully well, low-key and distant but with occasional glimmers of genius and intensity. The stellar supporting cast includes Jeff Goldblum, Clancy Brown, John Lithgow, Christopher Lloyd, and Ellen Barkin, and they're all pretty darn good.

I'm not even going to pretend to be rational or unbiased about this movie. It's too utterly offbeat and original and just damned _odd_ to not love. Some favorite scenes: the opening sequence of the Jet Car test run; Buckaroo's phone call with the Black Lectroids, and his subsequent detection of the sinister Red Lectroid agents in his midst; the eerie recorded message from the Black Lectroid leader, the "good guys" who threaten to blow up Earth unless Buckaroo stops their enemy, Dr. Lizardo (Lithgow, in a truly twisted scene-chewing performance). Yes, it looks cheesy and dated, but damn it, you have to take a stand somewhere in life, you have to roll up your sleeves and step up to the plate and put yourself on the line, and have the courage to say, "I don't care what anyone thinks of me, I love this movie." That's the way I feel about old Buckaroo and his Hong Kong Cavaliers, and I still consider myself a loyal Blue Blaze Irregular fifteen years after seeing this film.

As a post-script, I'd like to mention that the novelization of this movie, written by Earl Mac Rauch, is great, and actually contains about 3 times the information and plot that is in the movie. If you can find it on Amazon or at a garage sale somewhere, snap it up, it's worth the search. Also, there's a script for BUCKAROO BANZAI VERSUS THE WORLD CRIME LEAGUE floating around too, which should be made no matter the cost if only to film one priceless scene - the cameo appearance of Jack Burton, Kurt Russell's swaggering truck driver hero from John Carpenter's BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA, who appears as a Blue Blaze Irregular and gives Team Banzai a lift!
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I had forgotten how good this was!
emswife1 January 2003
What a great way to start the New Year! I just watched this flick for the first time in ages and remember now why I agree that it is a "cult classic"!

Made in 1984 way before most of the actors achieved real star status, this movie has so many "inside" references and jokes, it's a wonder that more isn't made of it! And if you are a real Star Trek fan, you will know that Yoyodyne Propulsion is on the commissioning plaque for the Enterprise as well as other Star Fleet vessels. The references to Grover's Mill and Orson Wells along with the whole deadpan tone of the film makes this an unbelievably funny experience. I only wish that "Buckaroo Banzai versus The World Crime League" had been produced.

Peter Weller, Jeff Goldblum, John Lithgow, Ellen Barkin, Dan Hedaya, the entire cast must have had a great time making this movie. It is full of technojargon, double speak and just plain funny stuff that pokes fun at every bad B-movie scifi thriller/comic book/Saturday serial ever made. There is no bad language and no skin and lots to hear and see in this great movie!

It has one redeeming quality above all else for me... it makes the effects on Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and all of those other poor excuses for Saturday kid's entertainment look ridiculous. If the producers of this crap on TV that passes for action need some pointers on how to take useless stuff and make a cool, funny scifi flick, they need look no further that "The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eight Dimension"!
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Best viewed while wearing an aluminum foil helmet
acts212017 September 2005
This is the most bizarre movie I've ever seen - and it is one of my absolute favorites. The jokes are deeply embedded, and you have to pay close attention. The super-car that breaks sound (and dimensional) barriers idles when the ignition is turned off... the test code for the oscillation overthruster jet car is a spelling variation of "signed, sealed, delivered"... The high-tech, alien-technology visi-glasses are made of pink bubble wrap...amidst the deafening screams of fans and the jazz playing horn section of the Hong Kong Cavaliers, Buckaroo hears one single person crying.... It's these bizarre little jokes are that make the movie great, but they are not every one's cup of tea. It's good to have a very strange sense of humor - otherwise, you just won't understand why it's funny when... well, you just won't get why the movie is funny at all!
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Don't take it too seriously and you will enjoy
a_gulliver22 August 2003
This is a fun film. It doesn't take itself seriously and neither should the viewer.

The plot centres around a pre-Robocop Peter Weller's character (the implausibly named Buckaroo Banzai) who is a scientist/rock musician/surgeon...seems to be talented at just about everything. In his lab he perfects a device for travelling through solid matter on the pretext that 'solid matter' is in fact 80% empty space. True enough and so far so good.

In the movie, the 80% of matter that is space turns out to be the 8th dimention, and Banzai unwittingly causes some nasty alien "lectoids" to enter our dimension. With the help of good lectoids he and his rock band have to save the day.

John Lithgow really steals the show with some excellent madcap lines. The big name actors clearly knew this was not to be taken seriously and though the plot is OK it is the one-liners in the script that make the movie so enjoyable. Special FX are early 80's par for the course, this is not the highest budget film ever! The only question is why didn't the advertised sequal ever make it to the screen?
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John Bigboote, look they have sweet 'n low
AZINDN18 December 2006
Slicker than a seal in water, The Adventures of Buckaroo Bonzai Across the 8th Dimensions is adult fare for those with a warped, droll, and completely irreverent sense of humor. Like the man himself, part musician/scientist/good guy in a pinch, this film falls into the cult status simply because it is too good to be anything else. Facing war in the 8th Dimension by an invasion of the world from a species of electroids all named John (Big Boote, Warfin, Parker, Ya-Ya, Small Berries, and so forth) from Planet 10, and who work for YoYoDyne Propulsion at Grovers Mills, NJ, Buckaroo must save the planet by sunset all the while making fun of everything and everyone with the straightest face in film history. With a cast of newbie actors of notable prestige today, but then just starting their careers, the cast include Peter Weller as Buckaroo, Ellen Barkin as Penny, John Lithgow as Dr. Emilio Lazardo/Lord John Warfin, Jeff Goldblum as New Jersey, Robert Ito and Clancey Brown.

A film that must be viewed on numerous occasions if only to catch the banter in background comments by actors off camera, or to assure oneself that what you heard was right, it is filled with hilarious pun on punning, and created such an audience following that include several highly paid scientist-types at the nation's most prestigious museum complex in the world who would monthly hold Saturday night viewings of the film to discuss. More subtle than Rocky Horror, more intelligent than any self-important Spielberg offering, and best of all, a showcase of the best costumes of the worst 1980s clothing styles including huge shoulder padded costumes worn by men and women.

Buckaroo Bonzai is must viewing for completely laughable entertainment for those who like their sci-fi entertainment way, way off-kilter. And remember: wherever you go -- there you are.
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This Movie Is Great! Or is it?
tzer08 July 2004
You will either love or hate this movie. If you get it it is a barrel of laughs. If you don't get it, you say . . . What the hell is this nonsense? It has been said that it's a comedy with all the punchlines removed. But they are there, you just have to read between the lines. It's kind of like one of those Magic Eye Puzzles. You have to look at it with the right kind of eyes. Otherwise you'll just see it as a crappy 80s sci-fi spoof. But trust me, there's more there than meets the eye. Some of the jokes aren't obvious on first viewing, or the 100th for that matter. You may want to consult the DVD extras or Pinky Caruther's 10,000 little known facts. With a bit of research, you can find out the reasons why that watermelon is there!
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Witty Sci-Fi Spoof
lonevector20006 June 2005
W.D Richter's Buckaroo Banzai succeeds on many levels, thanks to a wonderfully droll sensibility and inspired casting. Peter Weller lends a perfect, dead-pan seriousness to the very 'out there' proceedings, while John Lithgow chews up the scenery as the fiendish Dr. Lizardo. Ellen Barkin is particularly fetching as Penny Priddy, while Jeff Goldblum stakes out his turf with an engaging feverishness that is all his own. Christopher Lloyd takes a relatively low-key approach to his role and does well for it, allowing for Lithgow's extravagance. Welding the pieces together is a delirious, kinetic script by Earl M. Rauch.The film, although essentially a spoof of science fiction films and comic book superheroes, remains a delightful, inventive enigma of eighties cinema. The look of the picture is quite good, and (considering it's meager budget) highly-digestible. Given that the film never found a mass audience, it is surprising that so many individuals seem to remember it as vividly, and as fondly as they do. I can only hope that after everyone has gotten their fill of a certain "galaxy far, far away", that a return to the more substantial basics of storytelling and characterization is deemed imperative. Meanwhile sit back, relax, and laugh yourself silly with a charming, 'little' film that tends to be so much more.
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A fun take-off on adventure movies
jeffnewfeld9 November 2003
Aliens hiding on Earth, all with the first name of "John". A deranged mad scientist named Dr. Emilio Lizardo. A band of sidekicks named the Hong Kong Cavaliers. And in the center of it, Buckaroo Bonzai -- the part-time particle physicist, part-time brain surgeon, part-time rock'n'roller. How could this not be fun?

You're not watching this for the deep inner meaning. You're watching this because it's ridiculous and the actors know it is. John Lithgow is absolutely over the top as Lizardo. And Jeff Goldblum does a great comic turn as New Jersey.
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Laugh While (If) You Can, Monkey Boy!
Arriflex119 November 2004
"So what? Big deal."- A Lectroid commander in THE ADVENTURES OF BUCKAROO BANZAI.

Greetings honorary members of the Hong Kong Cavaliers and to all you neutral observers and detractors as well. Hoping to clarify the mystery and purpose of this 1984 docudrama, I have scoured all available data (including movie reviews), scrutinized the musings of the film's director via the DVD's special features, and held extensive conferences with official representatives of the Banzai Institute for Biomedical Engineering and Strategic Information. I hasten to point out that my findings are inconclusive and that many questions remain.

The film is (negatively) a rambling, disjointed pastiche of pseudo-hip, sci-fi/comic book inspired shenanigans that (positively) manages to generate inordinate amounts of charm and wonder through its fortuitous collusion of eccentric story line (battling aliens; a deeply depressed damsel-in-distress, (Penny Priddy); the actual Hong Kong Cavaliers honing their rock and roll chops; Buckaroo himself, pushing his new jet car- with the incredible Oscillation Overthruster -through the forbidding regions of the 8th dimension) and the glowing charisma of the actors at play: John Lithgow's Dr. Lizardo is hilarious and ingenious. W.D. Richter's nerdy persona obscures his inability to fashion Earl Mac Rauch's free-wheeling screenplay into a coherent whole. Still, the many facets of the story remain intriguing and Michael Boddicker's synthesized music is majestic and buoyant.

However, the questions persist. What did happen at Grover's Mill in October of 1938? Was Orson Welles part of an invasion plot that involved mass hypnosis? Are there extraterrestrial biological entities living among us? Documentation outlining an thorough governmental inquiry into these matters has reached this commentator. A report by the investigators, special agents Mulder and Scully, shall be made available to the public in due course. A final note: a page, supposedly torn from Welles' personal diary and written in a shaky, nearly illegible hand, carried the following, ominous message: keep watching the skies!
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A witty yet dry 'british stylized' comedy
ractajeno5 June 2005
If you like The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy or Red Dwarf, chances are you'll enjoy Buckaroo Bonzai. It is full of subtle/dry humor and has an overall upbeat mood. The subtly dry humor is found in the background audio as well as the odds and ends that find their way into the set decor and dialog. These offer a nice array of silliness to punctuate the story with their own unique twists of humor.

The cast is definitely All Star! Peter Weller (Robocop), John Lithgow (Third Rock from the Sun), Robert Ito (Quincy MD), Clancy Brown (Highlander), Ellen Barkin (Wild Bill), and Christopher Lloyd (Back to the Future) all have fun and amusing roles. Even the minor roles are covered well by perhaps lesser known yet veteran cast members such as Rosalind Cash and Matt Clark.

If you're a fan of British humor, you should definitely enjoy this one, even though it may take more than one viewing to catch all the subtleties. If you haven't been exposed to this style of humor, this certainly isn't a bad place to start! If, on the other hand, this style of humor is not what you enjoy, it may not be the one for you. For everyone else, kick back and enjoy! If it weren't a bit of a cult classic, I doubt it would be available on DVD. I give it a 7 out of 10 since it may not be for everyone. Personally, I rate it a notch higher.
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A Unique, Epic Adventure
jhclues7 April 2002
Since the release of this film in 1984, it has achieved bona fide cult status, and with good reason; for it is, without question, one of the most unique offerings in the universe of cinematic science fiction. chock-full of quirky, memorable characters and scenes, `The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension,' directed by W.D. Richter, is laced with clever dialogue, action, adventure and surprises. And where else are you ever going to find a main character who is a scientist, brain surgeon and rock n' roll star all rolled up into one?

After years of research, Buckaroo Banzai (Peter Weller) and his colleague, Professor Hikita (Robert Ito), have successfully developed an `overthruster,' a device that has allowed Buckaroo to pass through solid matter-- a mountain, in fact-- driving through it at high speed in his specially designed and equipped car. But when his achievement hits the news, it captures the attention of the mad Dr. Emilio Lizardo (John Lithgow), who catches the story on television from his room in the insane asylum, where he has been a resident for many years, ever since his own attempt at developing an overthruster failed.

But though Lizardo's trial run with the overthruster failed, it did put him in contact with alien beings from another realm, one of whom-- Lord John Whorfin-- has since that encounter inhabited Lizardo's mind and body. They are Red Lectroids from Planet 10 by way of the 8th dimension, stranded on earth (in human form) and awaiting the development of the overthruster, which will enable them to return home. These are dangerous and resourceful beings, and they are about to take Buckaroo Banzai-- currently on tour with his band, The Hong Kong Cavaliers-- by surprise. And soon, all that will stand between the Red Lectroids and the destruction of the earth, will be Buckaroo, his band and some help from his loyal followers, the `Blue Blazer Regulars.'

Working from the highly imaginative, clever and detailed screenplay by Earl Mac Rauch, Richter has fashioned and delivered a colorful and exciting adventure filled with subtle humor, the unexpected and an array of outrageous characters, from Whorfin and the Lectroids (all of whom have the first name `John'), to Buckaroo's cohorts like `Perfect Tommy (Lewis Smith)' and New Jersey (Jeff Goldblum), to the alluring, mysterious woman Buckaroo encounters, Penny Priddy (Ellen Barkin). It's an unconventional, yet readily accessible film that Richter has packed with interesting asides, lines and situations, all of which drive the story forward and keep you guessing as to what could possibly happen next. He throws so much at you, in fact, that it's impossible to catch it all the first time through; but it's a movie that lends itself to repeated viewings, because it's exactly what this kind of film is supposed to be: Pure entertainment from start to finish.

Peter Weller is perfectly cast as Buckaroo, and he successfully captures all of the elements that make his character the ultimate Renaissance Man of the immediate future. With this performance, Weller becomes the personification of the genius, adventurer and master-of-all-things; it's the definitive portrayal of a unique individual, quite unlike any ever presented on the silver screen before. Weller's Buckaroo is intelligent and self-assured-- watching him you get the feeling there's always something going on in his head, and always a step ahead of the next guy-- and it's his ability to convey the complexities of the character that makes him believable, and his incredible exploits seem credible. Simply put, Weller has taken a comic book character and made him real, and it makes the film work.

As Lizardo/Whorfin, John Lithgow takes it magnificently over the top with a character that is something of a precursor to his High Commander Dick Solomon on TV's `3rd Rock from the Sun.' And watching this guy in action is a real kick. He's larger than life, wildly animated and extroverted, while affecting an accent that's a veritable smorgasbord of dialect. He lumbers along like a mutated Quasimodo, and when he gives a speech to his fellow Red Lectroids about going `home,' it's one of the most hilarious scenes you're ever going to see anywhere. There's definitely a method to Lithgow's madness, and it's a terrific performance.

Christopher Lloyd also turns in a winning performance as another of the Red Lectroids, `John Bigboote,' and his exchanges with Lithgow are a riot (especially when Lizardo insists on calling him `Big-Booty,' and Bigboote adamantly insists that it is pronounced `Bigboo-TAY!'). And that's just an example of the many, many finer and detailed elements Richter uses to make this film so enjoyable and successful, from consistently funny verbal exchanges to broad physical humor, all interspersed with the action and woven seamlessly into the story.

The additional supporting cast includes Rosalind Cash (John Emdall), Pepe Serna (Reno Nevada), Matt Clark (McKinley), Clancy Brown (Rawhide), Carl Lumbly (John Parker), Vincent Schiavelli (John O'Connor), Dan Hedaya (John Gomez), Bill Henderson (Casper), Damon Hines (Scooter), Billy Vera (Pinky Carruthers), Ronald Lacey (President Widmark) and William Traylor (General Catburd). A film that will take you on a wild ride and into regions beyond the known, `The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension' is that most rare treasure among cinematic discoveries: A truly unique film. It's enthralling and entertaining, and will keep you laughing and involved no matter how many times you see it. And it's filled with great lines you'll be able to quote endlessly and use for any occasion. Or, as Buckaroo himself would say, `No matter where you go, there you are...' It's the magic of the movies. I rate this one 9/10.
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Wherever you go...there you are...
rshepard4279610 February 2007
Love this movie or hate it. But it ain't average. Not even close. If you see this movie you will remember it, perhaps fondly, perhaps angrily...but remember it you will. Either way it will be emblazoned on your brain forever.

I happen to be one of those who love it. Sure its cheesy and low budget. That's all part of the fun. The whole point is to spoof those crazy sci-fi monster movies of the 50's.

And maybe that is why you may need to be over 50 to enjoy it. Sure there is action. Sure there is adventure. But far and away what carries this movie over the top is its humor, some of which is in-your-face and some of which is so subtle you won't catch it all on one viewing.

And even if you don't like the story line the casting is over the top. Weller, Lithgow and Barkin are superb. Lloyd and Goldblum are rarely better.

Despite the bitterness of the Bansai haters, my prediction is that some day this will be considered a classic. Don't think Captain Kirk or Darth Vader. Think Sniddly Whiplash.
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Cult movie or seminal?
moxie-74 December 2009
There are, and always will be, differences of opinion about every movie. After reading the existing comments on this one I decided that one of the things causing those differences is the question of how many movies you've seen. I grew up in the 40s of the last century so I've seen an awful lot of movies. Maybe for that reason or maybe just because I'm a wacko, I tend to judge every movie at least partly for its relation to all the other movies I've seen.

Take "Buckaroo," for example. It came out in 1984 containing some elements suggested by "Dr. Strangelove" (1964) and "Superman II" (1980).On the other hand, its driving force shows up again in "Men In Black" (1997). "Sneakers" (1992) shamelessly copies one of its principal sets, the background of one of the characters, its technological McGuffin and one scene right down to the dialog. One line by John Bigboote is hilariously adapted in every single episode of the BBC comedy series "Keeping Up Appearances." Top that, "Citizen Kane!"
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"Monkey Boy" just isn't all that funny
Snootz22 October 2019
Despite raving reviews and ardent fans insulting the intelligence of those who don't acclaim this as an undying classic... seriously, it's just not that great.

Weird? Yes. Unusual? Campy? Nutso? Yes on all counts. But major chunks of plot are evidently left to the telepathic abilities of the audience, and performances are either wooden or seriously over-the-top. John Lithgow is the saving grace of this film, and his role is totally insane.

From a cinematic and production viewpoint, this is not top-shelf. From a story line viewpoint, it's silly. Not that there's anything wrong with silly... if it's good silly. But this is camp that intends to be camp and fails. It's humor that sometimes kinda works but usually doesn't. It has one truly memorable line... and even in that "No matter where you go, there you are" just isn't all that funny. I'm sure some folks find it hysterical. Hey, to each his own, monkey boy.

There are many, many viewers who consider themselves some sort of elite group because they "get" this film and if you don't agree, you're just clueless. The truth is some people are going to love this... and a whole lot more won't even bother writing a rewiew. I love campy films, and sci fi camp more than anything-- if it's well done. This isn't well-done camp. The directing is disjointed and inconclusive. Overall it just sort of hits the end and... ends.

The supposed "secret references" are often fictional. (One reviewer drooled over the supposed subtle hilarity of them using bubble wrap as a prop. Ha ha.) For Easter Eggs, try Ready Player One. Truth be told, most of the supposed "hidden jokes" in this film are more viewer imagination than reality.

I really don't know why this became a cult classic. There's no denying that it did, nor that many people absolutely breathe this film. That doesn't mean viewers *have* to love it... or that anyone is stupid in declaring it "not the best movie ever made"-- because it really isn't (not by a long shot).

If someone loves this film... good on ya and more power to you. That doesn't mean that people who dislike this film are idiots. It means they demand a bit more in cinematic experience than "let's throw stuff at the screen and see what sticks". This *could* have been a great film. With a bit better script, a bit less cocky directing, and a bit more story this could have been an all-time great. Unfortunately it falls significantly short of that. Be a starry-eyed fanboy all one wants, this one needed a bit more polish.

Some people think a man running around in a rubber Godzilla suit is the height of movie history. Other people... not so much. Doesn't mean that either one is wrong. It means that Buckaroo Banzai may prove to be an acquired taste... or one that is unpalatable.
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"What are you talking about man, some kind of Race War in New Jersey?" - The President
JimS_868616 March 2008
Warning: Spoilers
The film opens with Dr. Banzai (Peter Weller), a brilliant neurosurgeon and scientist performing surgery from a remote location to correct an Eskimo's paralysis. The Jet Car is waiting outside - which may or may not allow him to break through into the 8th dimension with the help of his Oscillation Overthruster, an invention Professor Hikita and Dr. Emilio Lizardo (John Lithgow) have been testing and trying to perfect for the past half a century. After the surgery, Banzai's experiment with the Overthruster proves to be a success.

Later that evening, Dr. Banzai decides to unwind by performing live with those hard-rocking group of scientists, the Hong Hong Cavaliers, at a club owned by a fellow named Artie. Artie could care less about Banzai's scientific breakthrough, he just wants some music out of these characters. During the performance, a suicide attempt by a young woman named Penny Priddy (HOT Ellen Barkin) is thwarted by a clumsy cocktail waitress. She is apprehended immediately by authorities and taken away. The following day, Dr. Banzai springs her from jail cell due to the fact he believes she is his murdered ex-wife's twin sister whom she was separated from at birth.

Life gets even more complicated for Dr. Banzai when he, along with the help of Dr. Sidney Zweibel (Jeff Goldblum), discover Lectroids by Planet 10 by way the 8th dimension invaded Grovers Mill, New Jersey 50 years before. Orson Welles' 1939 "War Of The Worlds" radio broadcast actually wasn't a hoax, Zweibel concludes. In the years since this invasion, the Lectroids - who look like regular folks to those who don't have the formula - have basically taken over a weapons manufacturer under contract by the D.O.D. and are in the process of planning global annihilation. Unfortunately the President, whose back is killing him, is oblivious to this fact as he leads a country crippled by a looming cold war with Russia. It's up to Team Banzai to take matters into their own hands, especially after the Lectroids abduct Penny and steal the overthruster which they would need in order to get back into the 8th dimension where they once resided.

I first saw Buckaroo Banzai when I was in Jr. high during it's brief run at the theaters and am still quite fond of the film as an adult. Earl MacRauch's creative and original script is packed with exceptionally witty dry humor. Repeated viewings are a must in order to take it all in. It is no secret that this offbeat sci-fi adventure / comedy has developed a huge cult following over the years, and there's no doubt MacRauch along with director W.D. Richter made this movie with that intention.

With this and RoboCop, Peter Weller should be proud of having appeared in two 80's classics. The rest of the supporting cast is great too. The underrated Clancy Brown shines in a small role as Buck's ill-fated counterpart Rawhide, and John Lithgow gives an outstanding performance as Dr. Lizardo / Lord Whorfin. One of the many great aspects of this movie is that you feel a real sense of camaraderie amongst the members of 'Team Banzai'.

I must acknowledge that over the years I have recommended this film to several people and they came back to me saying it was one of the worst movies they have ever seen. This makes me appreciate Buckaroo Banzai even more.

Orson Wells (the guy from the old wine commercials) has nothing on W.D. Richter.

This is one of the top 10 films of all time.
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Odd title, odd movie.
Boba_Fett113824 July 2007
Not too sure what to think about this movie. It seems like its a spoof, of what, I do not know however. Perhaps of comic-book type of movies from the '80's, or adventurous serials from the '30's/40's? But then again there's the problem that the movie is not really funny and on top of that, also not so very well made. Guess the movie can best be seen as a cult-classic, for the fans of it.

To be honest, the movie began well and promising. It developed some potentially interesting characters and plot lines but for some reason as the movie progresses they don't get handled well. The movie becomes more crazy and crazy as the movie heads toward the ending. At one point I even stopped caring and wanting to understand what the movie was all about. It was confusing, it was poor but above all it was odd.

The movie could had been fun, the movie could had been action filled but yet it all isn't. It's wasted potential, cause I guess that in essence Buckaroo Banzai isn't really a bad fun movie main-hero.

The movie is only fun now really with its character's names. All of the alien's their first name is John and they have names such as John Bigboote, John O'Connor and John Smallberries. But other than that, there isn't really much fun present in the movie. The many famous actors however still provide the movie with some fun and this uplifts the movie. Amazing how many great actors are in this movie such as Ellen Barkin, Jeff Goldblum, Christopher Lloyd, Clancy Brown, Ronald Lacey, Vincent Schiavelli and Dan Hedaya. John Lithgow is deliciously overacting as the movie its main villain but I just wish that he had more sequences and was made more interesting as a character. Peter Weller was a great leading man in the '80's and he shows with this movie how well he can carry a movie.

The special effects are all decent for '80's standards but perhaps overused a bit too much. The musical score is typically '80's like and absolutely horrible. Further more the movie is fairly well looking, too bad inexperienced director W.D. Richter doesn't know how to use everything to its full potential.

Yet it's not all that bad and the movie still entertains, so the movie obviously still has some redeeming qualities which makes this still a bit of a watchable movie.

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Buckaroo Banzai
questl-1859220 May 2021
Saw the title and couldn't NOT watch it. This is an absurdly 80s, absurdly absurd movie about... I don't even know but it was crazy and I want more of this type of thing. Movies that are just bonkers and yet still try to ground in some sort of reality. It's a balance I think we've lost but the 80s nailed. It's a weird watch, but if you're looking for crazy, you found it.
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A sequel would have been awesome.
fireball_01013 June 2005
Warning: Spoilers
HOLY COW. I have only been around for 13 years now, and that was one of the funniest movies I have ever seen. I quote that movie almost everyday since I saw it, and hope to own it on video or DVD really really soon. Lines like, "No matter where you go… there you are." and "Give her your jacket" - Buckaroo "Why me" - Tommy Prefect "Because, your Mr. Prefect." Buckaroo "(pauses) You have a point there" - Tommy, still crack me up. I would love to see the sequel the "World Crime League" but I guess some people don't have as good of humor as some of us. I guess it's to late to do that now, but man, It would have been one of my all time favorite movies. If your in for a good laugh, and can fine this rare treasure in some movie place, RENT IT, and if you like it, BUY IT.
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Beware of TV version spoiler narration!
Silent_Larry30 January 2003
Warning: Spoilers
If you happen to catch Buckaroo Banzai on TV/cable, and hear narration during the opening titles, mute the sound. Read the text crawl instead, and turn the sound back on when it's done.

The tacked on, needless narration contains spoilers for elements of the story that are revealed more appropriately by the film as it unfolds. If that weren't enough, this idiotic narration continues over the film's original expository text crawl, as if it were normal to hear narration while reading different text!

Once more we are treated to the "improvement" of a great film by dumbing it down for the masses. Not as bad as what was done to "Brazil" for TV, since you can repair the damage to Buckaroo Banzai simply by turning down the sound for a minute. It's just another indication of what some Hollywood folks think about the intelligence of the general public. Aren't there enough brain dead, cookie cutter crap movies made? I guess not. Is it necessary to spoil films that credit the viewer with the brains to follow them? Apparently so. I'm so thankful that they did this "fix" for cheap. Otherwise, you can bet they would have loaded it up with extra flashbacks to previous scenes, and all the other sleazy TV-Brazil tricks to make it a more "accessible" movie (i.e., tailored for morons).

Is my contempt showing? Then my work here is done...
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Only the intelligent need apply.
themelbourn1 March 2003
Warning: Spoilers
**WARNING. There shalt be spoilers.**

I was very fortunate and saw this movie when it was in the theaters in 1984 for all of about nine seconds. I've seen it probably fifty or sixty times since then, and every time I do, it still cracks me up. (To be truthful, some of the lines -- "It's your hand, Buckaroo!" -- can crack me up if they simply drift through my head.)

Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension is, quite simply, brilliant. This is the perfect example of a movie made for the intelligent moviegoer, and not dumbed down for the mass viewing audience.

Peter Weller plays Buckaroo Banzai, a genius half-American, half-Japanese neurosurgeon, bad musician, and adventurer. He is the leader of the Hong Kong Cavaliers, his backup band/fellow adventurers. Buckaroo and his colleague, Professor Hikita, have created a device called the "Oscillation Overthruster", which allows Buckaroo to drive a highly modified Ford F-350 pickup through a mountainside and into the space between the molecules, the Eighth Dimension.

When Dr. Emilio Lizardo, a former colleague of Professor Hikita, finds out about the overthruster, he breaks free from an asylum where he was residing (likely since 1938) to steal the overthruster. You see, in 1938, Dr. Lizardo fell into the Eighth Dimension and was taken over by a Red Lectroid from Planet 10 named John Whorfin. John has been imprisoned in Dr. Lizardo since then and wants to return home.

When Dr. Lizardo breached the dimensional barrier, he freed many Red Lectroids who were being imprisoned there. All are named John and arrived on Earth, in Grover's Mill, New Jersey on Halloween night, 1938. They all want to return home. But to do so, they will have to steal the overthruster from Buckaroo and his Cavaliers, who don't want to let it go.

Peter Weller is wonderful as Buckaroo, playing him with a Zen-like coolness that many have mistaken for woodenness. He is quick with his own koan-type sayings: "No matter where you go, there you are," and "This will change your life. Or not." Weller finds the character quickly and plays him for all he is worth.

Also amusing is the way Weller is verbally described as half-Japanese, but appears to have no Oriental features. It strikes me to be in the manner of a pulp magazine, where the only Orientals drawn were always villains. However, many of the heroes of the pulps had mystical Oriental training, were raised by wild pandas, etc.

The Cavaliers are well-casted and acted, particularly Reno Nevada (Pepe Serna), Rawhide (Clancy Brown), and Perfect Tommy (Lewis Smith). There are even hints about other Cavaliers, who aren't in the movie, such as Pecos, who is in Tibet.

Ellen Barkin does a fairly good job with her role as the clearly-psychotic Penny Priddy (though far from her best role) and Jeff Goldblum perfectly nails his role as the brain surgeon Sidney, who becomes the cowboy Cavalier, New Jersey. I personally think it's his best role ever.

The villains are fantastic. John Lithgow's Lizardo is the all-time over-the-top hoot. Christopher Lloyd, Dan Hedaya, and Vincent Schiavelli all show up as various Black Lectroids, all named John.

Carl Lumbly makes an early acting appearance as a good Red Lectroid, the dreadlocked John Parker. His grin and sunny demeanor lighten up the coming apocalypse and makes his character one of the most likable ones ever on the silver screen.

The movie is low-budget and looks it. Don't be fooled into thinking this matters. The low-budget look perfectly fits the pulp fiction quality that the story demanded. The special effects border on cheesy, but fit the story to a T.

This movie is one of the great science fiction movies, simply because it knew exactly what it was, and it gave the viewer exactly that. It was at once a spoof of 50's era science fiction and a celebration of all things sci fi. It steeped the work in the pulp styles of Doc Savage and poked gentle fun at the pseudo-science used in those same books. It also firmly establishes itself in the '80's, and savagely sends up the politics and fashions of the same decade.

I can't give this movie a grade. I love it too much. It's not perfect, but it's damn close. If you have a solid three-digit IQ and you haven't seen this movie, do so. I envy you for still having the experience in front of you.

If you think that the late '90s Godzilla was pretty good, that Men In Black rocked, and that Independence Day was the greatest movie ever...don't bother. This movie isn't for you.

For those of us who know and love this movie: isn't it great to be rewarded for being smart?
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Wonderful, under-appreciated, low-budge pseudo-Sci-Fi film
wageman105 April 2006
I'm not surprised that many people do not 'get' this film. It is a very low-budget, 'psuedo-Sci-Fi' film. 'Psuedo', because it is most definitely not serious about being 'Sci-Fi'. All of the 'science' is portrayed totally tongue-firmly-in-cheek. If you didn't get that with the "baby bang" reference from "Doctor" Penny Priddy during the press conference scene, well, then I'm sorry, but you're hopeless.

If anything, this is an anti-Sci-Fi film. It's a spoof of all those 1950's-era Sci-Fi films where the incredibly bad science interpretation is played completely seriously. I mean, c'mon, the Overthruster tracking device with the UPS-truck turn-signal click should have clued you in that someone isn't quite serious here.

What we've got here is a great romp with some future mega-stars having a great time. Lithgow's performance alone is worth the price of admission. Ellen Barkin is luscious in both that pink dress and her tied-up black skirt. That jail-cell flirtation scene... well, what more can I say? Those wonderful in-jokes: "Yoyodyne Propulsion Systems". YOYO-dyne? "The Future Begins Tomorrow"... well, of course it does. "Negative, we do not have crossover... we are over New Jersey. All is not lost." Well, of course it isn't... or is it? (Born and raised there, Woodbridge Twp., sorry. To this day, my sister and brother-in-law live in New Brunswick, I'm not making this up.) If you own the DVD, as I do, then you probably know that practically nothing was created for this film. The Red Lectroid bivouac was an abandoned Firestone tire factory. If you ever did high-school drama, you probably recognized Lizardo's foot-pedals as an ancient lighting dimmer board. The spinning Styrofoam cup in the "shock tower" (an automotive term) takes the cake.

There is so much going on in this low-low-budget film to laugh with, not at. If you watch this film looking not to trash it but to laugh with it, I think you will get far, far more out of it.

I only wish they had been able to make the sequel.

And finally, I originally saw this film when it was first released, in the Harvard Square cinema in Cambridge, Mass. The screening was sparsely attended, but you could tell that some people "got it" even then, and many didn't. Too bad.
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When cult classics go wrong
rparham7 June 2006
Warning: Spoilers
If there was ever a film to define the term "cult hit," it is The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai. A box-office flop when originally released in 1984, the film nonetheless drew a significant following on video and cable, even to the point where a television series was pitched a few years back. However, the flip side of being a cult hit is that there is a substantial portion of the audience that is mystified as to what that small group of followers sees in the original material. I find myself among the ranks of those who look at Buckaroo Banzai and say "Huh?" Nonsensical, lacking in energy or humor, Buckaroo Banzai is pretty much an exercise in strangeness for strangeness sake, and that just doesn't add up to an entertaining time at the movies.

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai focuses on the leader of an eccentric group of scientists/rock musicians, The Hong Kong Cavaliers, who travel throughout the country, play clubs and research particle physics as well. They carry weapons, drive around in a tour bus, and have a small army of volunteers, named the Blue Blazers. Buckaroo (Peter Weller) is a highly skilled neurosurgeon who gave up full time medical practice to engage in his eclectic lifestyle, and has, with the assistance of his surrogate father, Professor Hikita (Robert Ito), invented a jet car that can travel through solid matter by transposing to the Eighth Dimension. This is accomplished by a device known as the Oscillation Overthruster, designed by Hikita, which quickly becomes a much sought after item.

It turns out that Hikita has been developing it since the '30s, where during an early experiment, his partner, Dr. Emilio Lizardo (John Lithgow), partially entered the Eighth Dimension and was possessed by a red Lectroid trapped there. He then managed to bring his fellow Lectroids to Earth, and upon learning of the successful test of the Overthruster, plans to use it to return to Planet 10, where his kind is from. Attempting to thwart this plan are black Lectroids, who team up with Buckaroo to fight Lizardo. At the same time, Buckaroo discovers the existence of Penny (Ellen Barkin) the twin sister of his dead wife, Peggy, which adds to his difficulties.

If you can follow the above plot description, then congratulations, you may be able to decipher Buckaroo Banzai. However, the film's convoluted plotting will most likely prove off-putting to most audience members. In place of a coherent plot, Buckaroo Banzai would seem to want to jazz us with it's rather off-the-cuff, anything goes attitude, but it proves to create mostly indifference. The film wants to be a science fiction parody, theoretically sending up the genre, but it's difficult to determine exactly what it is parodying. A lot of the scenes attempt to be funny, but they fail to be. Screenwriter Earl Mac Rauch and director W.D. Richter have decided to treat this movie like darts tossed at a wall: throw enough and something is going to stick. Yet, in the end, nothing really does, and the endless collection of disconnected ideas proves almost distracting, not fun.

The characters are also rather non-existent. Few of them make much of a distinct impression; most are just surface glitter, distracting us with wackiness, while lacking much of a core underneath. Who really is Buckaroo Banzai, or any of his co-horts? Peter Weller turns in a performance that could best be described as indifferent, breezing through the movie with the same basic expression and even level of energy. Jeff Goldblum is entertaining as one of his sidekicks, dressing up as a cowboy, but there isn't much outside of the outfit. When a character close to Buckaroo dies, there isn't a tear to be found because we barely know him. Also, the relationship between Buckaroo and Penny is almost nonexistent, and there is no chemistry between them to speak of.

On the villainous front, John Lithgow turns in an acid-addled performance as Lizardo, but again, it's just over the top weirdness that fails to be very engaging. The character is saddled with an Italian accent that makes dialogue difficult to decipher at times, but even when you can, it's just not funny. The rest of the villains are filled out with veteran character actors (Christopher Lloyd, Dan Hedaya, Vincent Schiavelli), but they are just random bodies in the background.

There are countless individuals who worship at the throne of Buckaroo Banzai, and there are more than a few cult films that have proved to be enduring entertainment (W.D. Richter's next writing assignment, Big Trouble in Little China, among them). But Buckaroo Banzai does not pass muster, proving that occasionally cult status is not a good measure of quality.
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Excruciatingly boring
pninson22 January 2010
This a love it or hate cult film. Either you force your date to sit through it, or your date forces you to sit through it. Perhaps, if you're lucky, you will both hate it or you will both love it. The last person I dated loved it, and of the handful of uninteresting films I sat through for her sake, this took the cake. 103 grueling minutes of stupid, unfunny jokes, nonsensical plot, this is an incoherent, muddled collage of random non sequiturs, and is painful to sit through. This is the kind of movie that makes you want to get up and wash the dishes, just for a little excitement. Dull beyond belief.

And the worst I did to her was make her watch ROCK AND ROLL HIGH SCHOOL.
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dimensions of wackiness
lee_eisenberg7 June 2013
"The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension" is a movie that understands full well what kind of movie it is and so they made it as zany as possible. Peter Weller was a few years away from playing RoboCop when he played the renaissance man who travels through solid matter and brings Earth into confrontation with aliens. What was particularly neat was when they noted that all matter is mostly empty space due to the spinning of the atoms (which presumably makes it possible to travel through the matter). And of course the part about Orson Welles's radio broadcast was cool. But mostly, the movie is just fun, and it looks like the sort of movie that they probably had fun making. As long as you accept it as an unabashedly silly flick, you're sure to enjoy it. Weller, as well as John Lithgow, Ellen Barkin, Jeff Goldblum and the rest turn in some great performances.
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